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Did Second Isaiah write Lamentations iii?

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image of Vetus Testamentum

In recent years, textual analyses of Lamentations have increasingly noted correspondences with Isaiah xl-lv. The alignment of the two has resulted in various proposals about influence with the recent work of Patricia Willey noticeable in its claim that the Lamentations iii geber provided the paradigm for the Suffering Servant figure of the third and fourth songs (Isa. lii, liii-liv). This article considers this discussion anew with the intent to ascertain the provenance of the Lamentations geber and his relationship to Second Isaiah. After a close analysis of some of the more persuasive correspondences between the two figures, it becomes clear that the geber fits uncomfortably in the book of Lamentations. Furthermore, his persona functions as a corrective to the responses to disaster found so prominently outside of chapter iii. The parenetic section which follows the geber's lament in vv. 22-39 defines the sufferer and uses his experience to teach sanctioned views of the deity and the human person. Bearing in mind the way the geber acts to admonish and teach in Lamentations leads to the view that the suffering figure has more commonality with images and thought stemming from the Golah community. The paper explores the implications for understanding a Golah view placed at the heart of Lamentations for interpreting the material.


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